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* First phase of Sri Lanka's first coal power plant to be opened tomorrow
Mon, Mar 21, 2011, 06:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 21, Colombo: The first phase of Sri Lanka's first coal power plant, Lakvijaya will be declared opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow (22).

The Lakvijaya coal power plant located in Norochcholai in the Puttalam District of Northwestern Province will add 300 MW of power to the national grid.

The construction work for the 300 MW coal fired thermal power plant with infrastructure for a 900 MW power plant had started in 2006 amid heavy resistance from the Catholic community of the area.

Construction work on the second phase of the plant is already in progress and once completed, the Lakvijaya plant will will enhance the capacity of the national grid of Sri Lanka with an expected output of 1658 Gwh of annual energy at distribution level for delivery to consumers.

The Chinese government thorough the Exim Bank of China has provided US$ 455 million for the Lakvijaya plant.

Meanwhile, the government is also hopeful of commencing work on the Sampur coal power plant, which is a joint venture between the governments of Sri Lanka and India.

Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka told ColomboPage that work on the Sampur plant would commence after clearing some legal issues that have been raised by the Attorney General.

Once completed, the Sampur power plant is expected to generate total of 1000 MW to the national grid in two phases. In the first phase of the project 500 MW will be added while another 500 MW will be added from the second phase.

The addition of coal power plants into the country's energy cycle, according to Ranawaka would help create a long term diversification in the country's energy sources.

He said that the country was looking at a mix of energy sources that include hydropower, oil, coal, and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Ranawaka said that LNG would be introduced to the country in 2014.

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